God's Trigger Review

To quote U2’s song Stay (Faraway, So Close), there’s just the bang and the clatter as an angel hits the ground. And that’s how angel Harry met demon Judy. Harry needs to stop a looming apocalypse but after plummeting to the ground, his wings are broken so he’s not up to the task alone. Luckily, Judy, a chain whip cracking sexy demon who witnesses Harry’s belly landing, has the same goal. Together, the odd couple engages in a gore-filled road trip through five chapters of violence and mayhem as they hunt down four horsemen of the apocalypse before a final trip to heaven.

God’s Trigger plays out as a top-down twin-stick shooter where Harry and Judy storm through a commonplace southwestern decadency from seedy bars to movie sets and ominous cathedrals. Left trigger of the controller is used for melee attacks and right trigger to shoot with pickable weapons that all has limited ammo. When the rounds are fired, it’s best to collect another gun left behind by the downed enemies. It’s a bit strange that Harry and Judy die only one from shot. Shouldn’t angel and demon be more than mere mortals? Fortunately, different abilities improve their chances.

Both characters have unique basic and special kills that are unlocked and improved by gaining experience points from kills, combo kills and overall destruction all around. For example, while Harry can dash, Judy teleports and what comes to specials, Harry can stop time and Judy mind control enemies, among other things. Skills are regulated by a special bar that is filled by… killing enemies, of course! There are numerous puzzles scattered around levels that require using characters’ special abilities. Special perks, on the other hand, improve passive skills, such as making Harry and Judy immune against explosions. Quite handy, as you’re most likely to shoot explosive barrels by accident!

God’s Trigger is first and foremost a local co-op game. As a single player experience, it’s pure masochism. As such, the game boils over to twitching a few steps at a time, nervously picking up enemies and praying for reaching the next checkpoint. And dying a lot while doing all that. You can switch between Harry and Judy at any time but when one is dead, the other is not available for a replacement. Feels a bit cheesy. There are set pieces and enemy placements, not to mention boss fights against each the horsemen, that feel almost unfair for a solo player.

As a co-op play, the game is still pretty much twitching ahead because the unforgiving game design doesn’t allow for a continuous flow of a murder spree. Here, though, when one player dies, the other can resurrect him or her as long as there are adrenaline shots to do it. If you have run out of them, restarting from a checkpoint always replenishes one shot out of maximum four. To succeed in co-op, you need to plan ahead your tactics. My brother, controlling Harry, said he’s useless aiming with the right stick in narrow spaces the level design favors so he opted to use only the melee attack. That’s OK, as Harry’s holy sword can be upgraded to swing fast and cover a wide range. I, as Judy, provided fire support with guns and her far-reaching infernal chain. Based on this set-up, we made our game plan – often it worked, sometimes not.

You see, co-op play can be very stressful. In the heat of things going south, and they do that often, you might get frustrated and bark at the company – to cover up your own stupid mistakes! However, when it all goes according to a plan, it’s a very satisfying feeling. There are some devious set pieces where you really need to work out as a team to come up with a meticulous choreography to reach the next checkpoint and take a breather there. Sometimes, though, all it takes is a mad, impulsive rush with a flurry of melee attacks to mow down enemies. After all, the other player is there for backup so you can allow some liberty time to time.

Absolutely the best thing going for the game is its pre-millennial comic book attitude. God’s Trigger could easily be imagined as a DC Comic’s Vertigo label imprint from the mid-90’s. The game also channels southwestern sentiments so uncannily with its detailed, cel-shaded comic book graphics and a great, three-chord blues rock soundtrack that you’d surprised to find out it’s actually Polish-made. If all that sounds like your thing, fine – as long as you have a co-op partner to play with. Solo play is sadly out of the question and feels almost like an afterthought. With a good company, God’s Trigger can still often feel more frustrating than fun but at least you have someone to share the experience instead of just slamming yourself.

Video game nerd & artist. I've been playing computer and video games since the early 80's so I dare say I have some perspective to them. When I'm not playing, I'm usually at my art board.